Bill Brandt

My post about Brandt has prompted someone who did know him, not necessarily well, but met him enough to convey a sense of his strong charm and intelligence – shy and quietly spoken, yes (‘a v quiet voice that made one listen closely and bend towards him to hear’) – but also warm, well dressed – ‘very attractive, lovely clothes, sparkling eyes’. I don’t know why I wanted a sense of what he was like: something about the ambiguity of the status of a photographer in the 1930s and whether he considered himself an artist, which he obviously did, but also with the advantage or disadvantage of his residual slight Germanness. ‘Restrained, but interesting’ is a good description of him, arriving in New York to meet John Szarkowski.

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